By Shereen Siewert

Marathon County officials will decide this month whether to extend a COVID-19 emergency declaration through Dec. 31, a move that aims to ensure the county remains eligible for state and federal relief funding.

Some funding authorized by the CARES Act can only be distributed to municipalities with an emergency declaration in place. County leaders say that extending the declaration will allow for relief finding both now and in the future, should Congress authorize another stimulus plan.

County officials on March 19 declared the 100-day emergency, which gives administrative flexibility to close government offices and buildings and to “implement strategic staffing and policy changes,” according to county documents.

The order also authorizes the head of emergency management to carry out duties under Marathon County’s Emergency Operations plan, which includes applying for grant funding and federal reimbursement. The county can also order large supplies of personal protective equipment for health operations without going through the required three-month bidding process, as long as the order remains in place.

The Executive Committee voted this week to extend the emergency declaration, but the vote is subject to full board approval. The full Marathon County Board of Supervisors meets June 18 to take up the matter.